Do you know
Do you know….
I always knew this day was coming, but the longer I waited (I started blogging about leaving in December 2014), the more it seemed like a myth. I never saw any of my American pals on a daily basis, other than Elizabeth, Maddie and Jana. So although my heart feels like a disco ball with the utmost desire to shatter and hope someone love me enough to catch all the little pieces of me, I think the reality of the best experience of my life ending will hit me in random places. For example, looking at the moon is never the same now I’ve attached the sentimentality of my adorable Alabama bestie Taylor Barbour. On a foggy night when the moon disappears, I panic because I’ve lost sight of Taylor. But I know she’s there even when I can’t see her (or the moon), because that’s how true friendship lasts. I’ve cried many times about leaving my American bouquet of faces behind without a vase but once I’m gone things will be different from here on out. I’m the vase. They were my flowers. Each one a different kind, a different vibrancy of colour in their hearts, a different reason individually as to why I picked them. Since I refer to my heart as one of my blog post titles “The Ticking Time Bomb of the Jenga Heart, evidently this vase is made of glass. You can glue me together again when I break but the knowledge and evidence of the break won’t ever disappear. I have yet to decide who was which flower, other than that Erin was a Daisy, Jana was a daffodil, Anna was a lily and Elizabeth was a tulip. I will have many a “bouquet of faces” during my life, as some friendships wilt in neglect and a lack of vitamin ME (see what I did there 😉 ) and the odd weed creeps in and I know I need to rearrange things. I’m no Alan Titchmarsh, I’m a hopeless romantic. And I pray my bouquet will stay together without me.
Monday 15th June: Forever IS Over
The morning it came to finally “kiss” goodbye to Hattiesburg, I’d had one hour of sleep. I’d been out to play pool with Charles, Blake and Anthony the night before and then William and Julissa stopped by Taylor’s house to bid me farewell. It was 12:30am by the time I was finally by myself, maybe even 1am. I didn’t bother touching my suitcase until around 2am, as my questionable priorities of editing photos and instant messaging consumed my mind. I finished writing postcards, farewell gifts and final arrangements to my suitcases. I was too tired and done for to care that my case was a kilo overweight, I couldn’t willing depart with anything else. It took me another hour to get warm due to the poor circulation in my hands and feet; with the clock reading 5:30am as I messaged friends in the both the UK and the USA to pass the time. I suddenly decided that I wanted to have a properly recognised goodbye with my friend Erin, leaving her gift with her in person on my way to the airport and hopefully convince Taylor to take me, despite the fact time is not something we can spare today. I messaged Taylor before I drifted off for an hour of sleep saying “wake me up when you get up, I need your help with something.” She, alongside my alarms, woke me up at 7am and I eventually get up at 7:20am.Since I put all my cases by the door the night before, all I needed to do was get up and dressed etc.
“I don’t want to live
To waste another day
Underneath the shadow of mistakes I made
Cause I feel like I’m breaking inside.”
– Breaking Inside by Shinedown.
“Love is taking over me.”
Jason came back from work at 7:30am, I knew I couldn’t not say goodbye to him. I was brushing my teeth in his bathroom as he walked in and stood in the doorway of his bathroom. We just looked at each other for a long time saying nothing, both bracing ourselves to have the glass cave in on our little world. Like a Jack in a box, the pain accelerated up my heart at the sight of him and tears splashed down my face as I sprayed toothpaste everywhere as my chest began to rise and fall with my crying. I was embarrassed to have sprayed toothpaste all over his bathroom that I myself cleaned the day before. We hugged for a long time and talked for a while as I prepared to mark the end of my American Adventure and return to English soil. We sat on his front porch, sober and sad as we shared a final moment together. He expressed regret at life having different plans for his time; namely his job as it resulted in us not being able to see much of each other this semester. I was already crying as I got Jason to back me up on the idea of going to Erin’s house first as I broached the idea to Taylor. She agreed to do it, no hesitation or reluctance like I had prepared myself for. I’d prepared a speech in my head, ready to twist her arm if she refused but she didn’t and I think she could see that it was important to me. After hugging and kissing Jason goodbye for the final time, we drove to Erin’s house.
“I don’t want to fall and say I lost it all ‘
Cause baby there’s a part of me to hit the wall
Leaving pieces of me behind
And I feel like I’m breaking inside.”
-Breaking Inside by Shinedown.
“No Good in Goodbye.”
As luck would have it, she wasn’t there at 8:20am when we rolled up outside her house. I left her present with her mum, who was clearly surprised to have anyone knocking on the door at an unsightly hour. She was really nice to me, saying it was nice to have met me etc and shook my hand. As I got back to the car I was waiting for Taylor to say something but she didn’t. So I just said “it’s probably best she wasn’t there to be honest.” Because if I’d seen anymore familiar faces that morning I’d have been replacing Andrew’s screen wash with my tears! After this we hit the road, it’s a straight road near enough to New Orleans. Taylor let me play all the songs I wanted to, which is mainly Daughtry (OBVIOUSLY 😉 ) and then some other pop that was relevant to how I felt that morning. I had put Taylor’s gift in the car and decided to let her open it whilst I was there when I realised she wasn’t nearly as emotional as I was. She liked what I had got for her and I opened her gift too. She had got me a framed photo of us, but the difference being that the image was printed on the glass. She’d already given me a passport case earlier and stated that “Europeans use passports for ID more than we do.” I was touched by her gifts. As we talked aimlessly in the car about the future, the rawness of how much I would miss my new best friend seemed to be following me. She said something about me writing a soppy romance novel that would make people forget who Nicholas Sparks was and she wanted to be the one to publish me. My heart gave way at the rush of love I felt for this incredible human being. Like Radhika during my first year at Keele, she had kept my wings intact when I felt like they were truly broken. As we arrived at the airport, I didn’t feel as sad as I had anticipated. That was probably due to the lack of sleep and the whole bottle of Barefoot Moscato white wine that I’d knocked back on Saturday night at my “farewell party.” I did so much crying that night, I was almost all out of tears. I got Andrew to take our photo before we said goodbye and of course I gave her some tears. She didn’t reciprocate them, she just told me “not to cry.” Andrew gave me a long hug afterwards, I don’t think I’d ever hugged my best friend’s boyfriend before that.
“Where’s the “good” in “goodbye”?
Where’s the “nice” in “nice try”?
Where’s the “us” in “trust” gone?
Where’s the “soul” in “soldier on”?
Now I’m the “low” in “lonely”
‘Cause I don’t own you only
I can take this mistake
But I can’t take the ache from heartbreak.” ❤
-No Good In Goodbye by The Script.
“Dream Catch Me When I Fall…”
I was really excited to return home, despite being in such anguish about how much I would miss my friends. I willingly paid the excess baggage allowance, in desperation to just be back in my own room and bed. As I went through customs they looked at my passport for a long time so I decided to break the ice by saying “I wasn’t always that ugly” and they let me through the gates; shocked at such self-deprecating sarcasm. After using the 30 minute free Wi-Fi I wasn’t sure what to do with myself so I decided to read the letter Madison gave me for the plane. It was short and sweet, an A5 piece of paper filled with so much love and dedication that I found myself crying openly in public. I don’t think I’ve ever really cried at a letter before. She gave me a locket with a quote from my Instagram page “she believed she could, so she did.” I put it on, wearing my friend’s love around my neck as I went to finally get something to eat. I could hear English accents behind me so I innocently asked them where they were from in England and they said “Leicester.” I couldn’t believe it! I’d been in the USA for ten months and I’d not met a single soul from my county. I was ecstatic! I got a strawberry smoothie and I must have put too much pressure on it because the bottom came off and the smoothie went everywhere. The woman sitting next to me encouraged me to go and get a new one for free, so I did although Smoothie King were reluctant at first. The lady next to me and I got to talking. She admired me for all the travelling I’ve undertaken at a young age, she has a daughter the same age. As I got on the plane, the same thing happened AGAIN with my smoothie and a mortified me is given plenty of napkins to clean it up the air hostess. I’d managed to get it on my leggings and hi tops so I looked like I was peeing Pepto Bismol. I listened to my iPod on the first flight to Toronto and read Madison’s letter a few more times. I breezed through immigration despite the situation a month ago on the way back from Canada. Air Canada were late letting us board the plane to London, so I got chatting to an old English geezer who liked me because he thought I was a Londoner due to my accent. It’s not a COMPLETE lie… He was really nice and reminded me of own late Granddad. It was nice to be surrounded by familiar accents again. On the long flight back to England, I slept a lot but forced myself to stay awake to read some of the book Wilson had given me because he said he had read it on the way back from his study abroad and that he wanted me to do the same. I got through 30 pages before I went back to sleep again. I had a nightmare and ended up screaming “NO!” in the face of the sweet Indian girl sitting next to me that I’d been getting to know just a few hours before. She was alarmed and I apologised claiming “I don’t usually do that” which is a lie because I’ve been having weird nightmares and reactions to them since May 2013; breaking my nose being the ultimate nightmare result. However, she was nice enough to take pictures of London for me as she was in the window seat and I was in the middle as we landed at Heathrow. I got talking to a Canadian guy in front of me who was studying in Liverpool and I remember making some joke along the lines of “if I had a dollar, no actually a pound because its worth more, for every single time somebody commented on my accent or told me how cute I was, I could probably book my flight back to the USA tomorrow.” 😉 He responded with “oh I don’t doubt that.” 😉
Back on English Soil.
As we touched down, I felt a rush of emotion at returning to the UK for the first time since August 12th 2014. I took my sweet time getting to customs, making sure I could take snapchats with the London filter and messaged my USA friends about my arrival. I started to cry at random times, I v-blogged one moment. I had never felt like that about returning to the UK before. I was very unwell and extremely drained from the time away. Air Canada thought they had lost our luggage which was the last thing I wanted to hear when I’d paid extra to get it all home. I wasn’t in the South anymore and I knew it as I listened to passengers grumbling about the awful service. I told the woman “I’ve paid an extra $100 to get my luggage home so you’d better go and find it!” I was worried because I didn’t want to keep my parents waiting so a Canadian man let me use his phone. Thankfully it wasn’t long before our luggage came out. My parents weren’t there when I go through customs, it took them a few extra minutes to find terminal two. I was crying when I finally saw them, just overcome at the whole experience. We had our photo taken and then headed towards my mum’s new Kardashian looking white land rover and headed back towards Burbage from a busy Heathrow airport.